The Walk With Path team has been working lately on developing Floave, a wellness device aimed at helping its users keep motivated to remain active, and to contribute to battling the mental health epidemic modern society is facing.
The White Paper summarized in this article will assess the impact and need for a consumer device which applies insole vibrations, with the purpose of managing anxiety levels, daily activities, exercise and relaxation.
Anxiety in the global population.
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder worldwide, with 1 in 3 adults reporting periods of significant anxiety and distress during their lifetime .
The WHO estimates that anxiety is one of the top 5 most burdensome disorders globally, significantly impacting both individuals and wider society. It is estimated that approximately 300 million people have a variation of an anxiety disorder worldwide - and this figure is almost certainly an underestimate . Anxiety impacts all age groups, and manifests itself differently depending on age group. It is worth noting that anxiety is more prominent in women than in men.
The current Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a significant mental health decline mainly due to its subsequent quarantine measures which are “spurring fear on a societal level” .Young adults and the elderly population appear to have been most negatively affected by lockdown measures.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder in the elderly population and young adults. Aside from the mental symptoms of excessive worry and sense of dread experienced by patients due to this disorder, the physical symptoms can often have more severe impacts on daily life. Anxiety disorders have devastating effects on the lives of millions of people, and this is without taking into account the 1% of the population who suffer from OCD, and further 264 million suffering from clinical depression.
Current holistic prevention and treatment options for anxiety.
Several studies have provided evidence that both aerobic (High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), cardiovascular) and non-aerobic (swimming, yoga) exercise have a significant impact on reducing anxiety. Moreover, consistent exercise has been shown to be more effective in the long term in preventing and treating anxiety disorders compared to both cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication . Several studies have shown that 100% of participants indicated significant improvement in both their physical and mental wellbeing as a result of taking part in regular HIIT .
There are increasingly more studies providing evidence as to the effectiveness of breathing exercises on reducing anxiety  . Diaphragmatic breathing in particular has been shown to reduce anxiety levels, as well as reducing blood pressure, increasing blood flow, and reducing
the risk of hypertension .
Meditation techniques have also been shown to reduce pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy . Clinicians are increasingly placing greater significance on using breathing exercises to improve mental wellbeing. Evidence shows that breathing exercises regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and can improve the function of the parasympathetic nervous system . Floave’s wide range of breathing exercises are thus designed to simply and effectively improve the user’s wellbeing on-the-go.
Relaxation and Massage.
Massage is a well established method for promoting relaxation. Focused research on foot massage has reported significant reduction in anxiety and low mood after 20 - 25 minutes of foot massage up to 3 times a week. Massage can be used to manage chronic health conditions.
The impact of haptic vibrations on stress levels has been shown to be effective in lowering heart rate - this is a common indicator of reduced anxiety . New research has revealed the potential to use pressure stimulation on the feet, hands and chest to stimulate oxytocin (the happy hormone) production, as well as increase in “pleasant, relaxed, and refreshed feelings” . Further studies have shown that massage can be used as a holistic treatment for behavioural symptoms of dementia, with clinical reduction in anxiety and agitation reported .
Alongside general wellbeing, foot vibrations can also be used to treat symptoms of chronic diseases. A specific study into the impact of vibrating insoles in diabetic patients found that a mere thirty minute walk with a vibro-medical insole seems to improve pressure sensation and alter peak pressure in diabetic patients with mild-to-moderate peripheral neuropathy .
Download the 'Floave: an aid to wellbeing' white paper.
Each of these holistic methods mentioned above form the core basis of Floave as a wellness product. Floave will aid users in improving their motivation to keep active, and contribute to battling the mental health epidemic modern society is facing. Each feature of the product has been carefully designed and selected to give the user a holistic treatment for the daily stresses and challenges modern life gives us.
Complete the form below to download the white paper.